Top choice in Matsumoto

Must-see Matsumoto-jō is Japan's oldest wooden castle and one of four castles designated National Treasures – the others are Hikone, Himeji and Inuyama. The striking black-and-white three-turreted donjon (main keep) was completed around 1595, earning the nickname Karasu-jō (Crow Castle). You can climb steep steps all the way to the top, with impressive views and historical displays on each level. Don't miss the recently restored tsukimi yagura (moon-viewing pavilion). The Goodwill Guide Group offers free one-hour tours by reservation.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Matsumoto attractions

1. Kaichi School Museum

0.28 MILES

A few blocks north of the castle, the former Kaichi School is both an Important Cultural Property and the oldest elementary school in Japan, founded in…

2. Nawate-dōri

0.31 MILES

Nawate-dōri, a few blocks south from the castle, is a popular street for a stroll. Vendors along this riverside walk sell antiques, souvenirs, and…

3. Matsumoto Timepiece Museum

0.36 MILES

Home to Japan's largest pendulum clock (on the building's exterior) and over 300 other timepieces, including fascinating medieval Japanese creations, this…

4. Matsumoto City Museum of Art

0.64 MILES

This sleek museum has a good collection of the work of Japanese artists, many of whom hail from Matsumoto or whose art depicts scenes of the surrounding…

5. Japan Ukiyo-e Museum

1.99 MILES

Housing more than 100,000 woodblock prints, paintings, screens and old books, this renowned museum exhibits but a fraction of its collection. The museum…

7. Dai-ō Wasabi-Nōjo

7.67 MILES

Fancy some wasabi wine or ice cream? This farm, a 15-minute bike ride from JR Hotaka Station, is a must for wasabi-lovers. An English map guides you among…

8. Rokuzan Bijutsukan

8.74 MILES

Ten minutes' walk north from JR Hotaka Station, Rokuzan Bijutsukan showcases the work of Meiji-era sculptor Rokuzan Ogiwara (1879–1910; aka the 'Rodin of…